Once upon a time, still a mere slip of a girl, I applied for a job in recruitment with an up and coming agency. I liked the founders and was excited by the prospect of working with them to grow their client base. Already working with some big companies, representatives from each had been invited onto the assessor panel for a full day selection process.
One of eight shortlisted candidates, we were put through our paces and by all accounts I was right up there with a strong chance of landing the job. And then it went to someone else and here’s the reason why: I didn’t have enough stories to tell.
The clients on the panel worked for large organisations such as Nestle (the only one I can remember as I write this), and whilst they had no doubt that I could perform well in the role, they wanted someone with more experience recruiting for organisations with similar profiles to theirs. All my experience had been gained with Habitat to that point, as a Store Manager and they felt I lacked the breadth of experience they were looking for.
That feedback stayed with me. Since then I’ve built up hundreds of stories as my career has evolved and they have come in handy in numerous situations. That event also informed what I look for in people when I’m the one doing the recruiting.
A topical debate at the moment is around whether academics should be required to have a teaching qualification in order to educate our nation’s children effectively. I remember being in the top group for maths at Grammar school and it did me a disservice because the teacher was an Oxford graduate and an academic. I would have stood a better chance deciphering the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt than I did making sense of maths under her tutelage. If I were recruiting a maths teacher now, I would look for someone appropriately qualified and credentialed with the flexibility to talk their student’s language and the stories to engage young minds in the benefit of mastering numbers.
In summary – and this doesn’t just apply to the teaching profession – we should all be required to take formal qualifications and accreditations in order to demonstrate that we take our profession seriously. Alongside that we need the drive, hunger and passion to keep learning and to pass on what we know to the younger generation. Finally, we should find a way to record our experiences so that others can benefit. After all, everyone loves a good story.